Friday, February 17, 2012

Our Righteousness - The Fast Track to Hell

Yorkminster

It seems so counter-intuitive, doesn't it.  I mean, righteousness is what it's all about when standing before the holy and just God of the Universe, isn't it.

I wonder how many of us, growing up in the church, had our list of 'righteous' accomplishments that we could check off, to ensure our righteous standing before God:

1. I was baptized
2. I was confirmed in the church
3. I walked down the aisle
4. I asked Jesus to come into my heart
5. I went to Bible camp and Sunday School
6. I went to church every Sunday, Wednesday, and sometimes in between!
7. I give to the church
8. I don't cheat on my taxes
9. I am good to my husband/wife/children

etc.

We've ticked off all the boxes on our list and we're in good.

At least we're pretty sure we're in good.

But Jesus said that whoever is guilty of one part of the law is guilty of all.

WHAT??!

The Law of God shows us how sinful we truly are before a holy God.

But what about my righteousness? What about that list? I've accomplished them all. I'm a moral person!

What is moral?? Unless we are comparing it to the Law of God, morality is only a subjective thing and can mean anything we want it to, or that a group of people agree upon. But that's not God's idea of morality.

God said that 'all our righteousness is filthy rags' before Him.  Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
   and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
   and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

I don't get it.  What's so bad about me? I know lots of other people who are worse.

Right. We all do, for we're comparing ourselves with one another, not with a holy God.

The Law shows us our sinfulness so that we come to an end of our selves. Working hard to earn our salvation? Ticking off all the boxes?  Give it up already! We are only fooling ourselves.

Only Jesus was perfect. Only Jesus kept the whole Law of God. Only Jesus is righteous before God.

So, given the story thus far, we are in an utterly hopeless state. All of us. We are all of Adam's fallen race.

BUT THERE'S HOPE!
ENTER Jesus.

Jesus, God in the flesh, came to earth, lived the perfect sinless life, completely fulfilled the Law of God, then went to the cross and paid the price for OUR sin to satisfy the justice of a holy God.

Why would He do this???  No clue, except that we were totally unable to help ourselves and He loved us enough to take the punishment we deserved.

'But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.' - Romans 5:8

Jesus is our only hope before a holy God. And there we find perfect righteousness - not ours, but Jesus'. And we are SAFE. No more boxes to tick off, no more trying to be better than the next guy, no more working so hard to be acceptable.

We trust in Christ alone. We don't put our trust in a baptism, in a confirmation, in a prayer that was prayed to invite Jesus into our hearts (and where did that come from anyway?).

We look only to Jesus and His righteousness. We throw ourselves on the mercy of God. We follow Him. Daily.

He takes our sin and gives us His righteousness in return, so that we can stand justified before a holy God. That's the deal. That's the whole deal. That's the only deal -

for those who put their trust in Him alone, His righteousness is credited to our account.

It is truly amazing grace.

'This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.' Romans 3:22-24

Better yet, drag out your Bible and read the entire book of Romans. It will shed more light on God's wonderful gift to us in Jesus Christ, His Son.



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22 comments:

Denise said...

Bless you my friend, for such a great post.

Autumn said...

This is just the thing we've been discussing in our home and fellowship class. May our blind eyes be opened to the truth and our hearts opened to all Jesus offers us through his sacrifice.

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

You said it very, very well!

Fevered Brain said...

Gotta love it when "I can't..." becomes the gateway to "...but He did." Thanks for reminding us of our only hope.

Maggie Ann said...

How precious a post...may many read this and repent & trust Christ. It blessed my heart...

Stacy said...

Good thoughts. I think an awful lot of people call themselves Christians based on how they compare to that list of yours. They don't know that it goes so much deeper than that.

Carla said...

Judy, very powerful! Thank You!

Rachel said...

Amen Judy, amen!! Love this!!!

Happy Friday!
:)
Rach

Anonymous said...

Best post yet! A loud and resounding AMEN! Reminds me of my favorite sermon by Jonathan Edwards.

The grand kids send their love...

Love,

Stacey

Eva Ason said...

I loved this post - very well said my friend!
Bright blessings and have a fantastic weekend!

Eva

EmptyNester said...

I try to steer clear of self-righteousness. I've seen what that attitude can do to a church and to people in general. It's not pretty. I don't even have one of those lists. And perfect? Ha! I'm far from that. But, I figure the man upstairs knows my heart. That's all that matters.

Hey! I mentioned you on today's post! Just a little plug for your wonderful soaps!

Ruth Kelly said...

Righteousness is not the problem. It's pride of being righteous that gets in the way. Well said.

laurie said...

Great post!

ruthie said...

Thank you for that well-needed reminder. Great post!

Candace said...

Thank you, Jesus!

J_on_tour@jayzspaze said...

Even though I'm with you on everything here, a most surprising and insignificant phrase stood out for me as I try to not so much get this subject sorted in my head but rather look for a verbal explanation "... for we're comparing ourselves with one another, not with a holy God."
Well said.

Ruth Kelly said...

I was interrupted when I was commenting the other day and wanted to say that we follow our Savior. He was baptized, he received the holy spirit and taught us to love thy neighbor and that love is the most important value we have. His love for us will bring us home and redeem us from our sins.

Kimberly said...

So true, the more we get to know the character of God the more we realize that it is only his mercy and grace that allows us to enter in to relationship with the Almighty! So well said!

Deborah said...

Wonderful post my friend. Thank you for reminding us all. :)

Deborah said...

Wonderful post my friend. Thank you for reminding us all. :)

Yenta Mary said...

I love when you post about things that make me THINK and evaluate. It's very true that most of us would consider ourselves righteous, but that is - indeed - very subjective. While we would say that we strive to do the right thing, that path isn't always clear. But there are very clear moral rights and wrongs, if we can overlook our own wants (even more than needs) and see where the truth is ....

Lindsey Cazac said...

Love it. What a powerful post. Stopping over via the blog hop! So nice to meet you! New follower :)

Lindsey
outofalabaster.blogspot.com

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